A linear mesh network is considered in which a single user per cell communicates to a local base station via a dedicated relay (two-hop communication). Exploiting the possibly relevant Inter-cell channel gains , rate splitting with successive cancellation In both hops Is investigated as a promising solution to Improve the rate of basic single-rate communications. Then , an alternative solution is proposed that attempts to Improve the performance of the second hop (from the relays to base stations) by cooperative transmission among the relay stations. The cooperative scheme leverages the common Information obtained by the relays as a by-product of the use of rate splitting In the first hop. Numerical results bring Insight Into the conditions (network topology and power constraints) under which rate splitting , with possible relay cooperation. Is beneficial. Multi-cell processing (joint decoding at the base stations) Is also considered for reference.